Sunday, December 24, 2006


I hope all of you are enjoying your holdiays with those that mean the most to you.

One thing about the holidays is that you often see family members that you don't have the pleasure of visiting with during other times of the year.

Last night I celebrated Christmas with my birth fathers side of the family. I only get to see some of these relatives once or twice a year. That can be a good thing. I had the following conversation with my aunt "C" (the wife of my youngest uncle) last night.

C: So, Vanessa, how old are you now?

Me: I just turned 30 this past August.

C: Ohhhhhhhhh. Thats not young.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Countdown is ON!

Ideally, I'd like to have all of my Christmas shopping done by the 22nd. That only gives me 9 days.
I choose this date because I am of a unique family situation (mom, step-dad I grew up with thinking was my father, and a birth father). Anytime you have a family situation where some family members are here, some are there, and some are way the heck over there. My birth fathers family (grandma, her husband, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc - but not the birth father, he's on the other coast) all celebrate Christmas on the 23rd so I have to have all of their shopping done by then and if I'm going to have that half of the family done, I may as well have it all done so that I don't have to run around like an idiot dealing with the masses on the 24th.

At this point, I have less than half of my shopping done.

And NONE of my holiday crafts completed.

On the shopping list:
Father (since he lives in Boston, I'd like to get his gift shipped off by this Friday to avoid paying FedEx prices)
Lindsay (21 y.o. sister)
Ryan (17 y.o. brother)
Erin (cousin)
Jeremy (cousins husband)
6 cousins (ages range from 8 to 17)

On the craft list:
Janae's afghan (6 y.o. cousin) - thankfully, this is about 1/2 way done and shouldn't take long once I actually sit down to work on it.
And there are a handful of friends and coworkers that I will be making or baking token gifts for.

I'm sure I'll get everything done in time, it's just going to be a bit of a challenge.

I do this every year. About a week or two before Thanksgiving I start thinking "I should start working on my Christmas shopping NOW so that I don't have it all to do at the last minute" I never actually start.

There is one slight reprieve though. I'll have Friday afternoon off from work, possibly the whole day if I can get my work done ahead of time.

In other countdown news, only 22 days until Erin and I leave for GERMANY AND PARIS!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dear Santa,

I've been good this year. Really, I have.
Many great things have happened this year. I went to Ireland, I was able to go visit my grandmother a few times before she passed and was able to be with her during her last days, I managed to sell some of my jewelry (and one of these days, hopefully very soon, I will launch my ETSY site), I got a new position at work, I saw friends marry, my cousin Erin and her husband Jeremy moved back to Sacramento, I was able to test knit a pattern for Stefanie Japel, and I got a new car. I am generally happy with my life. On top of all of that, a friends mother who has had breast cancer for the past 5 years has gone into remission - something the doctors have been saying would never happen. I am very grateful for all of this.

However, I've also had to deal with a lot of crap this year. I got rear ended. THREE TIMES. My mom had to have angioplasty for the 2nd time in 3 years. My iPod was stolen. My youngest aunt and her 3 kids (ages 15, 14, and 6) were living with us for the past 3+ months (they just moved out last weekend. Thank God). My father increased the frequency of the "when are you giving me grandkids?" pressure. My knee problems seem to have increased in both pain and frequency. And, I've managed to break my digital camera.

Apparently I've dropped it a time too many and now the picture is slightly off from what is seen through the viewfinder. To get the picture I want, I have to go up and to the left a bit from my intended subject. Fun.
So, Santa, I really wouldn't mind it if you left a digital camera under the tree for me this year. Really, I don't need a lot of bells and whistles. I'm not asking for the Nikon D100 of my dreams. Something with 6 megapixels or higher, video capability, decent zoom, and macro settings would be GREAT! Something I can carry in my tote bag to Europe with me and take pretty pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Cologne Cathedral, and Notre Dame.

Something like this:

Its the Kodak EasyShare Z612 and it has everything I'm looking for. 6.1 megapixels, 12x optical/4.2x digita/50x total zoom, equivalent to a 35-420mm lens focal length, 32 MB internal memory, rechargable battery and pictbridge compatible if I later decide to get a photo printer.
If thats not enough, it can take macro shots like this:

Thats a user photo from Customer reviews on Amazon give it 4-1/2 out of 5 stars.
So, Santa, do you think theres room in your bag for something like this?


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Something to look forward to...

I was having a rough week at work, and decided to distract myself with looking at possible vacations for next year.
I asked to two guys that I work with if they had any suggestions on where I should go. Their responses??
"Iraq" and, "North Korea".
When I told them that I would prefer to go someplace that was more hospitable to both Americans AND women, they said:
"Well, now you're just being difficult."
I looked at airfare to my top choice of destinations - Italy was ranging about $1,200 and up. Paris was about $800 or more.
Then I got the weekly Top 20 travel deals email from and one special caught my eye - Newark NJ to Cologne Germany for $198 roundtrip.
While Germany may not have been my top 2 or 3 choices, it is definitely on the list of places I'd like to visit eventually and at that price, there is no way I could pass it up. There are a couple of drawbacks:
1. I had to purchase the tickets by 12/12 so this does cut into my holiday budget ever so slightly.
2. I now have to find cheap airfare from Sacramento to Newark
3. I have to go the last week of February, so it will be COLD.

However, none of these are enough to stop me from going.

One of the best parts? My lovely cousin Erin will be going with me. This is going to be GREAT! As close as Erin and I are, we've never traveled together other than day trips around Northern California. What will be especially helpful is that she speaks some German.
Our flight will leave Newark at 7 pm, so we're considering taking a red eye into New York the night before so that we can spend the day in Manhattan prior to leaving for Germany.

We are SO SO SO excited!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I'm still here, haven't disappeared or anything.

Thanksgiving was great.
I got up early and made my caramel apple pie. It was.... okay. Just okay. I didn't buy the brown sugar until Wednesday evening, so all that was left was dark brown so it had a bit more of a molasses type flavor, and I think I put too much brown sugar in the pie. It's definitely a recipe I'd like to work on perfecting.
Dinner at my aunts house was great. After dinner I was able to prevent myself from lapsing into food coma by knitting while watching the first season of Desparate Housewives with Erin & Jeremy.
The rest of my weekend, i did NOTHING. I was the perfect example of laziness. I just laid around and knit and watched television and movies. I was a sloth and it was great.

I may be planning my next international travel, nothing definite yet... I'm undecided.
For now, I'll just say Auf Wiedersehen

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Short Week.

I got my Vibe last Thursday, and I'm loving it!
I'll take a pic sometime soon and post more about it later this week.

This is also a short week for me, and I am very much looking forward to it.
I'll be working a half day on Wednesday and am off Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday afternoon I'll be baking desserts to take to my aunts house for Thanksgiving dinner.
One of my favorite pies is the Caramel Pippin Apple at Z-Pies, a GREAT gourmet pot pie shop in Placerville.
For Thanksgiving dinner, I'll be attempting my own version of a Caramel Apple Pie, complete with homemade caramel sauce. I'm thinking I'll be using a variety of apples. I went to Whole Foods this evening and picked up some Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, and Pink Lady apples for the filling. Whole Foods didnt have any Pippin apples so I may stop by the Co-Op tomorrow night. I'd also like to try putting some Honeycrisps in it, but Whole Foods didn't have any Honeycrisps and I'm not sure where else I would be able to find them. Thats the only grocery store I can recall ever seeing them at. I considered grabbing an asian pear while I was at Whole Foods and mixing that in with the apples for the filling, but had second thoughts. What do you think? Should I mix one or two asian pears in with the apples? Any other suggestions?
I will be cheating by using a store bought pastry though. I'm not up to making the crust from scratch.

So, other than baking a pie Wednesday evening and dinner with the family on Thursday, I have no plans for my extra long weekend. I do know that I will go no where near a mall, Walmart, Kmart or Target on Friday though. I've never liked the "Black Friday" shopping sprees. I did it once when I was 18, and that was enough for me.
Hopefully, I'll get a lot of knitting done. I'm still working on my sweater, but am no where near as far along as I would like to me. I'm only about 90% done with the back portion - then theres still the front and the arms, then the blocking and the seaming..... and I'm supposed to have this finished by the end of the month.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Aaaaaaannnnnnnnnd, I'm dumb.

Saturday I went and test drove the Pontiac Vibe. I really like it, I think I could love it.
I'll be picking it up tomorrow, provided everything goes through with the financing.

I'm very excited, but still a little nervous. I've never bought a BRAND NEW car before.
Granted, I would have never given a Pontiac a second glance before. But, after researching it and finding out that it has a Toyota engine and transmission, I'm confident that it will be reliable and will last me a while. Provided that the curse of being rear ended has expired.

The test drive went well, I was surprised at how much "pep" the thing has considering that it has a four cylinder engine.
With the four cylinder Toyota Corolla engine, I'm looking forward to how much money I'll be saving on gas. My old Explorer gets about 14-15 mpg in the city and I can get 17-18 mpg highway. With the Vibe I should get about 30 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. Fantastic!!!
Sooo.... Saturday evening I'm test driving the Vibe with the sales woman, Barb. As we pull back in to the dealership I'm looking over the console and the lay out and asking questions. Like this...

Me: Whats this "18"? Is that the gas mileage? Because I thought that with the Corolla engine it was supposed to get something like 30 mpg.
Barb, in the most kindergarten teacher voice I've heard since, well, kindergarten: Honey, thats how many miles are ON the car.

Aaaaannnnnnnd, I'm dumb.
I mean, I KNOW that this is a new car but I'm just having a hard time comprehending that there can be that few miles on a car.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I always love the first few rains of the season. Lying here, listening to it fall on the large, heavy leaves of the magnolia tree outside my window. It always gives me the sense that everything can just be washed clean and made fresh.
I'm sure that by February I'll be cursing the rain, but for now, its comforting.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday Night Lights

Last night was my brothers last high school football game.
Unfortunately, they lost. Their heart just wasn't in it.
Earlier this week the team found out that although they had qualified for the playoffs, they wouldn't be able to play because of the incompetency of the schools athletic director. Twice during this season they had had new students tranfer in who were on the football team. The coaches all thought everything was good to put these new players in games. Afterwards they found out that the athletic director had failed to turn in paperwork to the league offices which made the players ineligible to go out on to the field. As a result, the team had to forfeit 2 preseason games and 2 season games. Even though the team was 7-2 on the field, they were 3-6 on paper making them ineligible for the playoffs.
The team they played against last night was undefeated for the season, and my brothers team started out strong, keeping the score even for the first quarter, but after a couple of 15 yard penalties for players dropping the "f-bomb" on the field (even though it was in their own huddles and not directed at anyone) they got discouraged and let the other team stomp all over them. The end score was 40 to 8.

In other news, I got my car back from the auto body shop last week and finally took it in to have the transmission looked at.
My mechanic came back with very bad news, more than I had anticipated. Not only do I need a new transmission, but something called the hub bearings is busted. I still don't understand exactly what that is, but if not fixed my right front wheel could fly off while driving down the road. Not good. Just to get the car up to where it would be safely operable would be about $3,500 (thats at my mechanics cost - he'd be cutting me a pretty sweet deal). To fix EVERYTHING thats wrong with it (including a leaking sunroof, the electrical to the antennae, and a few other minor things) would be another $1,000. Considering its a 1995 with over 172,000 miles, my mechanic doesn't think it would be a very good idea to put that kind of money into it. So, I'm going to test drive a new car tonight. I'd been looking at a used Toyota Matrix, but realized that the Pontiac Vibe is the exact same car (its a joint venture between Pontiac & Toyota) and a brand new Pontiac is actually a little less than a 2 year old Toyota, plus through my work I qualify for GM supplier discount pricing with Pontiac. This is what I'm test driving tonight...

Does it look too soccer-mom-station-wagon-ish??
I wanted to keep some of the roominess of an SUV, but quite so big and better gas mileage. So far, this seems to be the best to meet all of those criteria.
I swear, I am not driving a new car home tonight. I still have to clean out my Explorer so that I can trade it in and move some money around to make the funds available for my down payment.

P.S. Kimananda, I have an Apple iBook G4 and I LOVE it. I would like to get one of the new MacBooks though.

Friday, November 03, 2006

So... Tired.... Can't... Knit....

I was able to cast on Viveka last night and I got about 5 or 6 rows of the back done. But, thats where I stopped.

Tonight, I went to my brothers football game. His team (Valley Christian Academy) won, 48 to 13, and they're now guaranteed to be in the playoffs.

Soooo, for any of you here in the Sacramento area, next Fridays game is supposed to be HUGE. Its the last game before the playoffs and theyre playing against an undefeated team from Vallejo (my brothers school is a smaller division private school so the teams they play against aren't all local). The game is next Friday night, 7 pm at Oakmont High School in Roseville. if you can, wear burgundy. Its his team color. Tickets are only $6, and as an incentive there is a "50/50" raffle. Raffle tickets are $1 each and the winner gets half of the funds generated by the sale of tickets, the other half goes to pay for the teams use of Oakmonts field (again, small school... they dont have a field of their own). Tonights draw was for $114.

Seriously, come to the game next Saturday. Root for #88. Thats my baby brother. I'll have some assortment of noisemakers with me, I'm sure.

I did get a little knitting done during the game. I started "The Printers Scarf", its a simple 2x2 rib with some striping at the ends. So far, I'm not too sure about it. With the striping and the ribbing... well....... it looks a bit like an athletic sock. I may be ripping it out and starting over. Maybe a basketweave? I'm not sure.
Anyways, with all of the yelling and stomping and jumping during the game, I am TIRED tonight. I wanted to knit more on Viveka, but am just going to crash to sleep. I hope to get a lot done tomorrow, I'm supposed to have this bad girl done by the end of the month.

Also, the power charger for my laptop is fritzing out. As I was sitting here in my bed, it started sparking on me and damn near caught my quilt on fire. The cord near the doo-hickey that plugs into my laptop is melted and wires are exposed. I toyed with the idea of wrapping some electrical tape around it, but when I hold the melted parts together, it starts sparking pretty good. I guess I'll be going to Fryes or Best Buy tomorrow. Hopefully theres a non-Apple replacement. I just checked Apples website and a new charger is $80 AND all of the use reviews that are showing from the past week ALL say that theyre fire hazards and people are having to replace them after about 9 months. I guess I'm lucky that this one has lasted for well over 2 years.

I currently only have 50% battery power, so if I don't find a reasonable priced replacement tomorrow you may not hear from me for a while.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


It's hard to believe that its only 52 days until Christmas.
Despite having so much to do between now and then, I was toying with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo. Even though its only 2 days into the month, I was already stressing because I hadn't started writing yet - I was going to be doing that tonight. I have the general concept of my storyline down - it's an idea I've been working with for a few years now. I've even started a few times and have the various beginnings on my hard drive.
However, I quickly abandoned my notebook and pencil when I found out that November is also NaKniSweMo.
Back in September I decided that I wanted to knit myself a sweater, and decided on Viveka. I even ordered the yarn - Wool of the Andes in Amber Heather as the main color and Evergreen for the contrasting trim. I've been putting it off starting it though. I couldn't justify knitting something for myself when I have a number of items that are currently in progress or need to be done for someone else:
1. The socks. Those socks that I started back in September? I powered through that first one and got it finished in a reasonable amount of time. The second one? Not so much. I've started it, but have put it down so so so many times. I'm not even to the heel yet.
2. Shawls. I have two shawls that are in the works. Both are for myself - the ones that I started and didnt finish for B&K's wedding last week. I'm going to have a few holiday parties to go to in early December and would like to have at least the one made from the Bernat Boa finished to wear to the parties.
3. Janaes afghan. In the summer I started an afghan for my youngest cousin and planned on having it finished by now so that I could put it for part of her Christmas present. Again, I've been focusing so much on other projects, that not much progress has been done on this one, although I have gotten a little bit done this past week. I WILL finish this by Christmas.
4. "Neopolitan Handbag". I've had an idea for another felted handbag in mind for a few months now and wanted to use pink, brown and cream - like neopolitan candies - but, I couldnt find the right shades for the pink and the brown. While in South Lake Tahoe for a bachelorette party 2 weeks ago, a few of us went to the ONE yarn shop in SLT where they had the PERFECT pink, brown and cream. Naturally, I bought them and have them sitting here. I have yet to start the bag.
5. "The Printers Scarf". In preparation for the launching of my ETSY shop, my friend S, who is a graphic artist, designed some business cards for me. She was also able to get them printed at no cost in exchange for a knit scarf. I bought the yarn - Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Worsted - now I just need to figure out the pattern. Find a pattern that would be appropriate for a man who is very stylish, or design something of my own? I'm thinking that with everything I have on my plate as it is I should stick with an established pattern.
6. Purple and Grey Felted Bag. I started this MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS ago. I got the body completed and am working on the straps. Then, its just a matter of throwing the thing in the washer. Hopefully I'll have this finished by Christmas and will be able to gift it to someone.
So, with the enormous list of WIP's staring at me blankly, I'm going to ignore it all and start on my own sweater. i even stopped and bought myself a pair of Addi Turbos for the special occaision.

Let the knitting begin!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Feeling better

I am feeling better, thank you all for your kind wishes.
It always helps to talk to some great friends.

What else helps to make one feel better when they're down?
New yarn and a new project, of course.

Yes, its is fun fur. Bernat Boa to be exact. And yes, it is worked up on fairly big needles. Size 13's, so it should knit up quickly. It better knit up quickly. I'm hoping to be wearing it to a wedding I'm attending this Saturday.
I drew my inspiration from this. I've made a couple of minor changes. I couldn't stand to work with size SEVENTEEN needles, so I went with size 13's and I've doubled up on the yarn so that it will be extra plush. I'm hoping that it will also be a little extra warm since its been a bit chilly in the evenings lately. I'm also hoping that it will look extra cozy and be one of those garments that begs for people to touch it. And by people, I mean men. Single men.
Its a solid black, obviously, but I couldnt decide on what color ribbon I want to put on it. Should I go with solid black, red to coordinate with my dress (the shade is "off" just enough to potentially bug me), or the cream? I'm guessing that the black would be the best bet since my other accessories would be black, but I'd REALLY like to have a red ribbon to tie it with. I suppose I can look at another fabric shop or two in search of the perfect red ribbon.
Originally I was crocheting the "Celebrity Shawl" from the 2006 Crochet Pattern-a-Day Calendar (it was featured on Wednesday, May 10). I tried to find a picture of it, but wasnt able to. However, it is similar to this.
About a third of the way into crocheting the shawl, I'm unsure that the style of the shawl will match my dress properly. So I'm going to make the "Eve" shawl from Knitty. If I have the time, I'll make the "Celebrity Shawl" as well and then let a second party (Hi Erin and Maya!!) decide which one I should wear Saturday.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Fall is generally my favorite time of year.
Theres a crispness in the air that allows me to pull out two of my favorite clothing items - sweaters and hooded sweatshirts.
The heat is no longer so oppressive that it makes me too lazy to do anything.
For the first time in months, it feels "right" to drink caramel apple ciders.
Knitting is more enjoyable - the yarn is no longer heavy and hot.
Night time high school football games.
Falling leaves & their changing colors.
Cuddling up with my puppy to watch a movie.

Usually this is the season in which I'm the most upbeat and sociable. The season and its atmosphere just makes me want to be with the favorite people in my life.

Then something happens. A disagreement with a relative, a close friend, whomever or whatever, and the sadness settles in.
All of a sudden, all of the things that I dislike about my life become harder and harder to look past. Everything that I would like to change is seemingly larger and more complex than before. The lonliness is palpable, the debts seem to be astronomical, and even things that looked like great opportunities as recent as just a week ago now seem to be comletely unattainable pipe dreams - and all I want to do is curl up with a warm blanket and wait for the melancholy to pass.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

'Tis almost the season...

If you are a close, personal, friend of mine you can expect something from HERE for Christmas. ESPECIALLY if you have a kid. Your kid will MOST DEFINITELY get one of those adorable little t-shirts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Turn of events

It looks as though my car WON'T be totaled out after all. The initial repair estimate submitted to my insurance company is $1,500 less than the blue book value so they (insurance) want to repair it. Of course they said that could change if more damage is found underneath as the repairs begin.
In a way, I am genuinely disappointed. I was looking forward to getting rid of my SUV. I've had this car for less than 4 years and hhave been rear ended 4 times. 3 times this year alone. I swear, this car is cursed. Someone has put a hex upon it. I was looking forward to getting something a bit smaller and more fuel economical.... and most importantly, something that is not foredoomed.
Soooo, I'm trying to look at the bright side of this. I'm trying to view it as more of a reprieve from the monthly car payments, that my insurance will remain at a lower rate for a little bit longer, that I'll hopefully be able to save some more money for a down payment and then maybe 6 months or so from now, I can trade in my SUV for something like the Toyota Matrix. In the meantime, I still have that pesky transmission issue to deal with. I have yet to find out if it is the transmission or some sort of sensor or something else.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I took my car in to the body shop last week. The owner of the shop said that it is most likely going to be totaled.
of ocurse, I haven't heard the final word from my insurance yet. I haven't even been able to talk to my adjustor at this time.
I called the claim in to my insurance last Friday, the day the accident occurred, and my assigned adjustor called me on Monday. We've been playing phone tag ever since.
Hopefully we'll be able to connect on Monday and I'll know whether or not I need to start car shopping more aggressively.
I've been looking at the website of a dealership where a family friend works, and so far I'm thinking of either a Toyota Camry or a Toyota Matrix. Either one would be much much much more economical on fuel. Just from my rough estimates the amount of money I would save on gas would make at least 1/3 of the new car payment.

I've been working on some items to place for sale on etsy. I'm hoping to have photos uploaded and the items available by the end of the week. I'll let you all know once everything is up and running.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

An eventful weekend

As I said in my previous post, I was rear ended again on Friday while on my lunch break. To make it even better, it appears as though the driver who hit me is uninsured, at the very least he didn't have proof of insurance on me at the time of the accident.
I left work a little early Friday afternoon so that I could go to my doctors because I think I hit my arm against the armrest because my right hand and forearm were numb and tingly all the way up to my elbow for most of the day Friday. I'll know more about my doctors diagnosis Monday afternoon when I go in for my follow up appointment. Also, ever since the accident I have been EXHAUSTED despite getting more than enough sleep.
Monday I also have to take my car in to the auto body shop and pick up my rental car. I'm thinking my car will be totaled out this time. After I got back to lunch Friday, a coworker went outside and looked at the underneath of my car. He said that it appears as though part of the frame is dented and with where stuff is crunched up theres a possibility that there could be a leak in my gas tank.
Heres some pics. I don't have a photoshop application to blur out my license plate. Please don't stalk me.

Aside from my bad karma (haha!) I did have a great weekend.
My friends Shauna and Jesse were in town from Salt Lake City for the weekend. Shaunas birthday was last month, and I can now finally reveal the Top Secret Project. Because Shauna lives in a cold climate, and loves scarves, I made her the Short Row Rib scarf. I think she likes it:

Since Shauna and Jesse were in town only for the weekend we didn't get to spend a lot of time together. We had dinner Friday and on Saturday we went up to Placerville for lunch and walked around the downtown area for a while.
Saturday night I joined my mom and dad at my brothers football game.

and now, I'm just being lazy. Considering I have to take my car in to the body shop tomorrow afternoon, I SHOULD be cleaning it out. Especially since theres a very high probability that it will be totaled out and I won't be getting it back.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I was just rearended AGAIN!
The damage to my car is considerably worse this time.
I'm trying to get an appointment with my doctor for this afternoon and will need to figure out a time to get my car in to the shop to find out exactly how bad the damage is.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Best Marketing Possible.

I've always been a "crafty" person.
In high school I would skip my science and gym classes to hang out in my ceramics classroom where I could sculpt a wall-hanging or throw a pot on the wheel. My ceramics teacher, bless her soul, didn't mind. Her theory was that if I was going to cut class I was going to do it regardless of where I went and she would rather see me making a pot than smoking it.
Since high school I haven't had access to a potters wheel or kiln, so my hobbies have changed.
Now, I occaisionally enjoy photography, once every few years I'll take a brush to canvas and attempt to paint something thats not hideous, I knit and crochet practically daily, and I do still make beaded jewelry from time to time.
Before I learned to knit last year, I would make beaded items regularyl. Most often, gifts for my cousin Erin. Being that she has extreme metal allergies and turns into a walking hive if anything is less than 24k gold, it would be of great cost to her to try to have any kind of jewelry collection. But, she still loves to wear necklaces. For several years now, its been standard for me to make her at least 2 or 3 beaded necklaces for her birthday gifts.
It pleases me to see that she wears these necklaces practically daily.
What pleases me even more is when she tells me that people compliment her on them frequently as well. Even when she was attending UC Hastings, which is primarily populated by trust fund kids who go to Greece on shopping trips. I wish I were kidding on that last bit. That statement is based upon an actual conversation I overheard in the elevator of the building she lived in in San Francisco.
Friday night Erin and her husband, Jeremy, joined me at the pub. She was wearing a necklace I had made her for her birthday this year - copper colored freshwater pearls with amber swarovski crystals. Once there, she received a compliment or two on the necklace, and in response she told everyone that I had made it for her.
Turns out that one of the other regular patrons has a daughter who will be going to Europe on an exchange program in January and it is customary for exchange students to trade gifts with their host friends and families. He commisioned me to make at least 10 necklaces for him to give to his daughter to take with her as exchange gifts.
Hearing that I was taking commisions, a couple of other patrons requested necklaces.
I believe that I will be busy with beads and wire for the next couple of weeks, thanks to Erin wearing my necklace. The best marketing possible.
All of this ties in with my recent decision to open a shop on .
i don't have any items listed yet, but as soon as I do I will be posting a link in the sidebar.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


I went to IKEA with Erin and Jeremy this evening. They have a beautiful new duvet cover with matching pillow shams that I think would be perfect to into an afghan or throw. What do you think?

It should also be fairly simple. I'm thinking it would just be single and double crochet. There would just be quite a few ends to weave in.
Its hard to tell from the phot, but it was a nice chocolatey brown, gold, green, tuquoise, a deep plum, tan, etc.

What do you think?

Friday, September 29, 2006


A short while ago I was contemplating over which sweater from the new issue of to make.
I'll have you know that I reached my decision and am making...


last week I purchased the yarn and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I'll post pictures of the yarn later, when I've had the chance to photograph it in natural light.
Also, the Top Secret Project.... just a little longer for photos of that. I still haven't sent it off to the intended recipient because I keep forgetting to take it in to work with me so that I can mail it off.

The sock is coming along well, I'm almost done with the foot and then will begin the decreases. I'm hoping to have it done by Saturday afternoon so that my cousin Erin can try it on before I start the second one. I'm hoping to start the second one by Sunday afternoon, when I will be sitting in my favorite knitting spot, the pub, enjoying a pint and fingering weight superwash wool sock yarn.

I want to get these socks done, for two reasons.
First, so that Erin can have some supercool hand knit socks.
Second, so that I can start on Viveka. In all of the years that I've been crocheting, and more recently, knitting, I have only made two items for myself. About 8 years ago I crocheted a queen size bedspread out of kitchen cotton. This may sound like an odd fiber choice for a bedspread, but I'd made a dishcloth with it and the texture vaguely reminded me of the cotton chenile bedspreads by great-grandmother used to have when I was a kid. I immediately had to have a throw or afghan made out of it, and of course I went over the top and made a queen sized bedspread. It took FOREVER, and MANY full sized cones of white kitchen cotton.
The second item I made was the very first felted hand bag that I made bacck in January.
Everything else I've ever made has always been for someone else - either as a gift, or for commission, or for charity. I don't regret making the majority for everyone else, but it is most definitely time that I make a pretty wool sweater for myself.


Theres a woman at my work who has the "Scrolling Marquee" as the screensaver on her computer. Any time shes away from her desk, on break, at lunch, etc., it comes rolling across her screen....


I haven't bothered to tell her that it's misspelled. Its been this way for MONTHS.

Monday, September 25, 2006


It's been a fun weekend....
Started early Friday by leaving work at 11 am for a farewell lunch for my boss. After working with her for the past year, it was sad to see her go but I do wish her well in her new position within the company.
Afterwards I went home, it was nice to be sitting in a bubble bath at 3 pm thinking "I'm still getting paid for another 2 hours".
Friday evening was Rhythm & Ribs with friends. We met up at the pub first then migrated over to Raley Field. There was a decent cover band playing, but not noteworthy enough for me to remember the name of the group. I sampled some ribs from a bbq company from Portland, OR. The sauce was great, but the meat quality was only so-so. After R&R, it was back to the pub.
Saturday, it was a friends 30th birthday and to celebrate her Scottish Heritage we made way to Dixon for the Scottish Games. Its always a good day when you're surrounded by men in kilts throwing heavy objects. After the games was a bbq at a friends back here in town.
Sunday, I got up early and took care of some chores around the house and spent the rest of the day knitting at the pub. It was a great day.

Now, the part where I'm looking for some suggestions...
My Scottish friend mentioned above will be entering the holy bonds of matrimony next month and the celebratory bachelorette party will be a weekend in Tahoe for the girls. We'll all be responsible for a meal and I have Saturday morning breakfast.
I've been looking at Epicurious and have found some recipes that sound great! Such as:
French Toast Santa Fe
Banana Stuffed French Toast with Streusel Topping
Creme Brulee French Toast
Blueberry Croissant French Toast

Theres also a few omelette/scrambled egg/baked egg dishes I've found that sound good, but I'm fairly good at making those type of dishes already and looking through those recipes was really just to give me ideas for different ingredients to toss in there.

So, any opinions on the linked recipes above?
Any suggestions on any other recipes that are quick and easy to make but yummy and decadent and seem like they took a lot of effort and time but really don't because chances are that I will be hung over and barely able to drag my ass out of bed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Top Secret Project is finished. One or two of you have seen it in progress, but the rest of you will have to wait a week or so for pics of the finished item. Personally, I'm pleased with the outcome. It's blocking as we speak.

The purple & charcoal felted bag? That hasn't gone anywhere. It's still sitting in my knitting bag.
Instead of finishing that project I've started my next one. Socks. I've started the first sock and so far, it's fairly tedious. Teeny tiny yarn, teeny tiny needles, teeny tiny stitches. I'm hoping that as I become more adept at it, I enjoy the socks more. There certainly is one thing to say about sock knitting - it's very compact and portable. It's also going to give me arthritic hands.

I like the sock yarn I'm using. I ended up not going with either of the ones I showed the other day. I just wasn't 100% happy with them, so over the weekend I found a pretty pink, blue and purple yarn. So far, I'm liking how its working up BUT I am only about a 1/2" into the ribbed cuff.

Completely unrelated, I'm in the mood for a pedicure. I'm also in desperate need of one.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Here Knitty, Knitty, Knitty....

The new season of Knitty is up, and can I just say how much I love it???
I LOVE the Viveka and Lucie sweaters and really want to make both. For myself, of course.
I hardly ever knit anything for myself. I am one of those knitters who always make things for others, and I don't mind. I like giving my family and friends hand knit items. Especially when they appreciate the time and love that went in to it, and most of them do. But, I think I am going to have to take a break from knitting for others and work on one of these for myself. Any suggestions on which one I should do first? Either way, I'm sure I'll be seen working on these at the pub this fall.

The Ivy wrap sweater is pretty cool too.

I'm tempted to make Avast for my father for his birthday in January... well, considering my "to knit" list, Fathers Day 2018 would be more realistic.

I'm sure my little cousin would love to have an Ayla bag. Again, with my to knit list, I'm sure I could have it completed in time for her first borns 1st day of kindergarten.

I don't know about this one, Intolerable Cruelty. I do love the design, it's just the style that I like... romantic, and curvy. But, I think my "curves" are a bit much for a KNIT skirt. My ass would look infinitely larger than it actually is.

Now, the pattern I take issue with....
I think Lizard Ridge is one of the coolest afghans I've ever seen. Absolutely beautiful. HOWEVER... 21 skeins of Noro Kureyon??? Thats about $180! For an afghan! Who on earth has $180 to knit an afghan?? Seriously, it is beautiful. I love the color changes of Noro Kureyon. I also like how that multicolored afghan is so brilliantly colored. BUT, if I had an extra $180 lying around, I seriously doubt that I would use it to knit an afghan. I'd probably go to Sephora or L'Occitane
I can only assume that its one of those project that you spend a year or more making, buying a skein and knitting up a square here and there as a diversion from other projects, put the squares away in your closet and one day you realize that you have all 24 blocks knit up and eventually seam them together.

Before I can make anything for myself though, I have a couple of projects to work on. First, an update on my recent projects.

The crocheted crib blanket for a friends pending niece? Finished! See....

Friend was pleased. I like how it turned out also. I love this pattern... its one of the free patterns available on the Project Linus website. Its called the Sideways Shell Baby Afghan. It works up fairly quickly, the pattern is an easy repeat - not so much so that its boring and overly repetitive though. Many times I've thought of making this with a bulkier yarn in more of an afghan size.

I also finished the Super Skinny Sari Silk Scarf. Its entirely possible that I may have gotten carried away, not paid attention to how long it was getting, and ended up with a scarf thats approximately 9 feet long. Keep in mind that its only 3 inches wide.

The felted messenger bag experiment that I've been working on intermitently since April? Lets not talk about that. All I'm going to say is that I see a lot of ripping out in my future.

The purple and grey round bag that will ultimately be felted?? Very close to being done. I'm working on the last i-cord handle, then it will go in the washer.

New projects?

A Top Secret Project is in the works, I'm a little over half way done and have a deadline looming so I'd better get cracking. I'll be able to show a picture around the first of next month. All I will say is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the yarn I'm using.

After T.S.P. is completed and the purple & charcoal bag has been felted, I'm going to try my first pair of socks. These will be a gift for my lovely cousin Erin. I've bought 2 different yarns, the first was a very cheerful looking pink orange and yellow. Then I found a very pretty blue colorway that I think she'll like a lot. I'm just not certain which color I'll use first.

Once the socks are completed I'll be working on.... Viveka? Lucie? Bueller? Anyone?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


last week I had the pleasure of losing my wallet.
It had to have been some time Wednesday night. I remember having it that afternoon and I went straight home from work, then it was Thursday morning that I noticed it wasn't in my purse.
I figure it must have fallen out of my purse somewhere between lunchtime Wednesday night and after I got to work Thursday morning. I have a horrible habit of trying to cram too much stuff in too small of a purse. I've searched my car, the office I work in, my house. It is nowhere to be found.
I had about $40 cash, a token for a free beer at the pub, credit card, debit card, kaiser card, etc. I've canceled them all and requested replacements, so no worries there.
What I'm really frustrated about losing is all of my "frequent shopper" cards. My favorite LYS has a card where once you spend $200, you get $20 off your next purchase. I had about $150 on my card, thats gone. I talked to the owner and she was able to mark off the purchases I've made since they upgraded their computers about a month ago though, so that helps some.
There was also the card for the local drive through coffee shop, my next latte was going to be free =(
Then there was all of the gift cards I still had from my birthday - $25 for JoAnns, $40 for ULTA, $15 for Blockbuster and :::sniff::: $25 for Sephora. I think that one may hurt the worst.
But the most painful of this experience, my drivers license. So that I don't have to use any more of my personal time at work I'll be spending a good chunk of this coming Saturday morning at the DMV.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ugh, I've been putting this off....

I've been having some problems with my car for a couple of months now.
Initially I'd put off taking it in to the shop because I was busy dealing with my moms angioplasty and then traveling up to Portland when my grandmother died.
Putting it off hasn't been too much of a hassle because my car still runs, its just that accelerating to above 50 mph can be tricky, the "overdrive off" light is constantly flashing and the "check engine" light comes on sporadically.
I'd been putting it off because when I initially called my car guy and talked to a couple of coworkers who are more mechanically adept than I am they all said it could be one of two things...

1 - The O2 sensor (whatever that is. its been explained to me but it left my brain as immediately as it was told to me) needs to be replaced - a quick, easy, and cheap fix. I like cheap. My mechanic estimates it could be as cheap as $50. I really like that initial price estimate.
2 - The whole transmission could need to be replaced. Again, my mechanic called around and the best price he could find on a rebuilt transmission for my car is $1,600. I do not like this initial price estimate. What makes it worse is that he said a rebuilt transmission comes with no guarantee. It could last for 5 years or 5 weeks. No guarantee. His suggestion in the event that I need a new transmission is to take that $1,500 and use it as the downpayment on a new car.

So, I've been putting it off and putting it off. Then I got my paperwork to renew my car this month. I have to smog my car this year and since my "check engine" light comes on, thats an automatic fail.
I'll be taking it in to the shop next week and as nice as a new(er) car would be, I'd like to put off buying one for a while longer. Ideally, I'd like to have a huge downpayment - about 1/2 of the sale price - and it will take a while longer for me to save that up. So (I use "So..." too much), please, everyone keep their fingers crossed that its just that pesky O2 sensor.

On a sidenote, I think I'm coming down with a cold. I'm stuffy, sore throat, tired, etc. I'd just like to crawl into bed and stay there for a couple of days. I have my dads birthday party this Saturday. Its his 50th, I'd like to be feeling like my normal self by then. I've told his girlfriend that I'll bring my Asian Noodle Salad, recipe below....

1 lb spaghetti (I've also used angel hair or vermicelli)
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (1 tsp if you don't want it as spicy)
1/4 cup corn oil (I've also used vegetable or canola)
1/2 cup sesame oil (be sure to use the dark sesame oil - it makes all the difference)
6 tbsp honey
5 tbsp soy sauce (if you're concerned about sodium, opt for the low sodium soy sauce from Trader Joes)
1 tsp salt (again, you can skip this if you're concerned about sodium)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I love cilantro so I always put extra in)
3/4 cup chopped peanuts, unsalted (I generally use cashews instead of peanuts, but only because of personal preference)
1/2 cup chopped green onion (again I put in extra because I like it)
2 tbsp sesame seeds (again, I put in extra because I like it)

Cook spaghetti al dente and drain.

In a saucepan stir in red pepper flakes and oils for 2 minutes. Add honey, soy sauce, salt and garlic powder.

Stir and mix well with cooked spaghetti. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I try to mix the pasta and sauce together the night before because the longer it sits the better).

When ready to serve, add cilantro, green onion and nuts to pasta, toss.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Also, when making for a party or pot luck of any type I'll double the recipe because it goes fast and if I'm taking it to a party the host usually doesn't allow me to take home any leftovers, ITS THAT GOOD.

On the quitting smoking... I've had a few hiccups. I went to a party Saturday night and smoked there and have had a few cigarettes each day since. Nowhere near the pack a day I was smoking before, but not smoke free like I'd like to be. I'm starting to wonder if I need to try that Welbutrin or whatever its called to help me wean myself off of smoking.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Ultimate DIY

A while back I was taking a friend to IKEA to pick up a new futon. At the time I didnt know whether or not the futon would fit inside my SUV or if it would need to be put on the roof.
At this time I hadn’t washed my car in a while so on the way to my friends I decided to go through the self serve car wash to take off at least one layer of the grime.
As I pulled in to the bay a man came around telling me where the change machines were located, how much the wash cost and how much time you got. Initially I thought it was odd that there was a guy working at the self serve car wash, then he followed up by saying “I’ll wash it for you, for a small fee”. At that point I realized that he was a homeless person looking to pick up some cash.
I opted to wash my car myself since I wanted to put a little extra focus on the roof in the event that I would be putting a new futon on top, and generally with an SUV the roof is the least focused on part of the car when washing it since its never seen.
He was nice enough to chit chat with me as I was washing my car, asking if I liked to go camping a lot and if that was why I had an SUV.
Then he started with the personal questions.
Random Homeless Guy - So, do you have a boyfriend?
Me - No
RHG - Do you want one?

uhh... I think I see where this is going so I answer very matter of factly

Me - Nope.
RHG - really?
Me - really.
RHG - see, I graduated high school and I’ve got 8 years military and a couple years college under my belt...
Me - thats great!
RHG - I've been on the streest for 12 years now and I just need a good woman to take me in and clean me up, put my resume together, get me a nice suit and find me a job.
Me - uhhh, thats really one of those things you have to do for yourself and not have others do FOR you.
RHG - well, I’ve been praying on it here but nothings happening yet

at this point he pulls a bible out of his bag, one that looks brand new and the spine hasn’t even been broken yet.

Me - well, it won’t happen overnight. You can’t pray for it and have it fall in your lap, you have to put some effort in to it.

At this point I was done with washing the exterior of my car and decided to clean out all of the empty water bottles and soda cans that had accumulated in my back seat. Since RHG had been cordial enough, chit chatting with me while I washed my car I offered him 2 plastic grocery bags full of recycleables.

Me - here, you can have these. you can take them up and turn them in for cash
RHG - nah. but leave them there, theres guys that come around collecting cans.

I had so many mixed thoughts after this encounter.

First of all, I was incredibly dismayed that someone who served 8 years in the military is in the position to where they are homeless and have been living on the streets for 12 years. I notice that a lot of the people you see on street corners holding up signs are vets.
When you see the commercials for our armed forces they all say that they will help you to prepare for a career. Granted, the person has to be willing to put the effort in to continuing their career after their discharge. I just can’t help but notice how many homeless people are ex-military.

Second - I think this guy was in the position he was in because he was unwilling to put in any effort to be more.
While I wouldn’t give him cash, I did offer him recyleable cans and bottles that he could have taken in for cash and gotten something to eat from it. He just wasnt willing to take the bags of cans and bottles up to the store 2 blocks away where there was a recycling station.

Third - This guy is the ultimate DIY project. Take a man and try to mold him in to what you want. Not my idea of good boyfriend material. Also, this is a good example of why I’m single. I have no delusional idea that I’ll meet some guy and be able to mold him in to what I want. Men, and women, pretty much come “as is” and I’ve yet to meet anyone who I’d be willing to accept “as is”.
Some may say I’m picky, I think I’m just aware of what I’m willing to compromise on and what I’m not.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Day One

on the Nicorette.

Today wasn't too bad. I had one brief moment of anxiety this morning as I got in my car for my commute in to work and realized that I wouldn't be smoking in the car on my way to work this morning. I popped a piece of Nicorette in and worked my way through it.
After that, the day wasn't too hard. I made it through work okay, on my breaks rather than go outside with the other smokers, I sat at my desk and knit or surfed the internet.
I'm not using the Nicorette as much as I am other gums and mints. I've stocked my purse with the following:
Trident White Cinnamon Tingle Gum
Clorets Gum
Trident White Wintergreen Gum
Life Savers Orange Mints
Life Savers Sweet Mints
Ice Breakers dual pack Tangerine mints & gum (left at my desk)

I'm using the cinnamon gum more than anything else. The Nicorette bothers my stomach a little, so I've only had 4 pieces today even though the instructions say that for the first 6 weeks I should have a piece every 1-2 hours.

So for my commute home I was fine. No anxiety about not smoking during my commute, I did fine until I got home.

Having a cigarette and a cup of coffee with my grandma is something we do when I get home from work every day. This evening I did falter and had 2 cigarettes. I'm not going to let that be a sign of failure and lapse back in to my pack a day habit. 2 cigarettes in one day is much much better than 20.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Correction & a Birthday Resolution

I misspoke the other day when I said that my birthday started when my coworkers decorated my cubicle and brought in cake & ice cream. My birthday ACTUALLY started when our receptionist called my extension saying that there was something at the front desk for me... a bouquet of gerbera daisies from my friend Shauna.
I've known Shauna for a little over 6 years now, we met at work and between escaping the stress of the job by adjourning to various happy hour locales, and a shared love of beading and cosmetics, we formed a friendship. About a year and a half ago I was incredibly happy for her that she had found her love when she married Jesse. I was not so happy when she and jesse moved to Salt Lake City shortly thereafter.
Although we email frequently and phone occaisionally, I miss her dearly.

Amongst other things, for my birthday I received a gift card to Target.
One of the items I purchased with the gift card was this..

Thursday, August 31st will be my last day smoking. To get through the withdrawals i've got the Nicorette and have stocked up on some Life Savers mints and other gums.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Saturday I turned 30.

All in all, it was a great birthday. Probably my best birthday yet.
The festivities began Friday when my coworkers decorated my cubicle and brought in cake and ice cream.

I decided to celebrate my thirtieth birthday by doing one of the most juvenille things I could think of. Scandia.
Scandia is a "family fun center" with miniature golf, bumper boats, indy race track, batting cages and an arcade.
Friday night I met about 14 friends there and we did a half assed attempt at a round of mini golf, followed by bumper boats. we had wanted to do at least one trip on the indy race cars but evidently Scandia does not prepare well for Friday night crowds by having only 3 cars running at a time and then shutting them down for 30+ minutes to refuel. We missed out on the bumper boats but spent some time in the arcade playing skeeball and shooting hoops. Afterwards, we adjourned to the pub.

I crawled into bed much much too late and was woken up much much too early by my adorable 6 year old cousin who wanted to bring me coffee in bed. After spending the early part of the morning visiting with her and my aunt, I took a yarn dyeing class at my favorite LYS, Babetta's Yarn and Gifts in Fair Oaks.
the blue and green yarns on the right are my creations.
The class was taught by Babetta's eldest daughter, Maya and she was a great instructor. It was Kool-Aid dyed and I made one full skein using Black Cherry (not pictured), a half skein using Limeade and Blue Raspberry Lemonade (pictured), and a hand painted skein using Cherry, Strawberry Kiwi, Lemonade and Blastin' Berry Cherry (not pictured). It was a great class, VERY interesting watch the yarns absorb the color from the Kool-Aid mixture, but leave the water behind. I can't wait to experiment with mixing different flavors to acheive different colors and different handpainted looks.
An interesting fact... after using Kool-Aid dye, even after rinsing the yarn, it smells GREAT. It smells like the flavor its been dyed.

That afternoon after the class, I joined some friends at the pub for lunch and cake then made a run to find an outfit to wear to a wedding on Sunday.

After shopping, I went to my lovely cousin Erins where the two of us got ready to go back to the pub. Once there, we were aboard a party bus as a going away party for a friend who is moving to Southern California. We bar hopped throughout the greater Sacramento area with plenty of carousing on the bus between different bars.
I made it back to Erins afterwards to grab not quite enough sleep before having to get up for a wedding in Isleton the next morning. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was a lot more fun once I'd had a couple glasses of wine to combat the hangover from the previous night.

Monday, August 21, 2006

2 weeks...

since I last posted.

Have I been up to some time consuming adventures? No. Its been the same day to day routine: work, commute, knit, socializing with friends, etc.
Has my life been so incredibly boring that theres been absolutely nothing to write about? No. I've got a few things to write about:
- the ultimate DIY project
- current roommates
- pending roommates
- upcoming fiber workshops
- new hair color
- completed knit items (or nearly completed)
- new position at work, and new coworkers
- birthday plans
- sewer problems, and my grandmother
- from the mouths of babes
- doctors appointments (nothing serious)

There will be plenty to read about over the next week or two. To begin with, the doctors appointment.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old I started complaining to my doctors that my knees hurt all the time. They all brushed me off saying that it was just growing pains. While I was a chubby child, I was still fairly active with soccer, swim team, dive team, gymnastics, and I rode my bike EVERYWHERE.
As I got older, and got my drivers license, I got lazier. And fatter.
I no longer rode my bike everywhere, I drove, and by the time I tried to pick back up some of the activities I used to enjoy, they would make my knees ache incredibly.
For a few years now I've known that I have patellofemoral syndrome in both of my knees.
About 5 years ago, the pain started getting really bad, I couldn't drive my stick shift car through rush hour traffic without crying from the pain. That was when I was finally diagnosed with the tracking disorder and I initally went through some physical therapy to try to strengthen the muscles around the knee cap. At that time, my orthopedist told me that I would most likely have arthritis by the time I turned 30. That orthopedist knew what he was talking about, even if he did have the WORST bedside manner I've ever encountered.
i went to my doctor about 3 weeks ago and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I was basically told that the only thing I can do is to take tylenol or ibuprofen, and to lose weight. So, i may give Weight Watchers another try, possibly South beach, or that Mediterranean Diet that WebMD keeps emailing me about. I'm not sure, but I need to do something.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hi, I'm Crazy...

I finished the crib blanket that I was crocheting for a friend, In general, I think it turned out well. However, there is one error, I think I crocheted the base chain a little too tightly. The end result is slightly trapezoidal. I'm hoping that some serious blocking will correct this but I fear that it may be beyond that.

The one finished item doesnt mean that I don't have a project to work on. Thats the beauty of having craft ADD. I always have a minimum of two, if not three, items on the needles. Current projects are:

1. FELTED MESSENGER BAG - knit - I'd started this one back in April thinking that I would take it to Ireland with me. Obviously, that didnt happen. I've completed the body and the strap, all thats left to do now is knit up some little pockets for it, assemble all of the pieces and then throw it in the washer. I'd guess it to be about 85% complete
2. SUPER SKINNY SARI SILK SCARF - knit - say that three times fast. I started this one today and its coming along very quickly. I'd estimate that its about 1/2 way completed.
3. GRANNY SQUARE AFGHAN - crochet - my little 6 year old cousin has been asking me to make her a blanket recently so I picked up some Bernat Softee Chunky in very bright colors and am crocheting an afghan thats one ginormous granny square. Its maybe 1/3 of the way done. This one will be put away for a Christmas gift. Oh yes, it will. I will not cave sometime around mid October and say "oh honey, you look cold. here, take this blankie I made for you".
4. FELTED PURSE - knit - yet another felted bag, but this ones worked in the round and I'm designing it myself. We'll see how it comes out. Its only about 1/4 of the way done.
5. PONCHO - knit - again, for the younger cousin. I have no idea why I'm making her yet another poncho. I've already made 4 for her, this one is with a yarn I picked up last year that was super cheap because it was being discontinued and some scrap eyelash novelty yarn. Its a lot lighter weight so I'm thinking it will be good for when she goes back to school in the fall. I'm only about 25% through this one.
6. AFGHAN - crochet - I started this one this evening. Why? I have no clue. Maybe because 5 projects in the works was not enough, or maybe because of the failure of the crib blanket I did. I'm using the same pattern, just making it large enough for a throw. This time, I did make the base chain looser.

These are just the projects that are currently "in progress". These do not include the projects I have lined up in my head, and there are many of those. There are projects from recent issues of both Interweave Knits and Interweave Crochet that I want to make for gifts and for myself, projects from Knit and Tonic, and design ideas of my own that have been floating around in my mind and sketched out in my notebook.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Just a bunch of randon photos that blogger wouldn't allow me to upload the past few days:
The Forum section of last Sundays Sacramento Bee that mine and Mayas blogs were included in.
Yes, my forehead really is as large as the paper.

The idea of going to Chicago for BlogHer '07 next year had me thinking of traveling again, so here are some photos from my trip to Ireland in May that I hadn't posted.

The Guinness Brewery in Dublin - one of many cool parts of my trip.

The "washing hole" in Adaire Village - originally this was where the women of the village would gather to do laundry, now its a beautiful little part of the park in the center of the village.

Taken from the top of Blarney Castle

Looking down into the center of Blarney Castle

Me, in front of Blarney Castle.

I think I took this one in Kilarney Village for my cousin Erin

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bloggedy Blog Blog Blog

I'm thinking of going to BlogHer '07 next year. It's in Chicago, a city I've always wanted to visit.
I'd considered going this year, but couldnt take Friday off from work and had plans for Saturday, but am thinking of going along with Maya next year.
I have a photo I'd like to upload, but Blogger STILL isnt letting me upload photos.
I must look into moving over to Wordpress or Moveable Type...

Monday, July 31, 2006

Surfing USA

Grrrrrrr.... Bloggers not letting me upload photos. Anyways....
Earlier today Tanya pointed out to me that a portion of my blog entry from last Monday was published in Sundays edition of The Sacramento Bee. The column I was included in isn't online, I guess its only in the print version.
The column, "Surfing USA, A selection from the week's blogosphere - Compiled by John Hughes", included my little blurb in which I whined about the heat last week. Nothing major, definitely not my best writing sample, but I may pay a bit more attention to my grammar from now on.
Now, if Mr. Hughes did a feature on knitting blogs......

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lamb Town, U.S.A.

Friends and I went to Lamb Town Saturday. Fun was had, garlic fries were consumed, and yarn was purchased. I'll have photos of the yarn up as soon as I have better lighting.
I don't know what kind of sheep this is, but he was so cute, and kept posing for me so I had to take a pic.

Monday, July 24, 2006

random thoughts

Its nearly 1 am and still 86 degrees outside, but with the 46% humidity it feels more like 90. We aren't supposed to get this kind of humidity in Sacramento. We're supposed to have that infamous "dry heat" and the humidity is worse. it makes the air weigh heavy upon you, coating your entire body with a layer of perspiration simply from stepping outside.
I'm in my bedroom and can hear the dogs getting in and out of their wading pool outside my window. I wish we still had a pool. I'd be floating in it right now if we did.
Mental note: next year, take an Alaskan cruise in July.

I'm thinking of going blonde. I'm not sure why. Maybe not completely blonde, just lots of highlights woven in.

I'm getting a toothache.
Must go to the dentist soon.

Lambtown is in Dixon next weekend and it's also one of my friends birthdays. She also happens to knit. We're looking forward to going and perusing the handspun yarns available.

I'm STILL considering getting a new, used, car. However, fuel efficiency is becoming more and more of a factor in my decision. I'm currently thinking of a Toyota Camry.

33 days until I turn 30. No festivities are planned. I'm not sure if I want a big celebration or just a quiet evening at the pub with my close friends.

Must clean my room. I have way too much crap. But, where do I start?

Need to organize my yarn. Should this be done by weight? Color? Fiber content?

My beading supplies are a mess as well.

I have some laceweight alpaca yarn. Its been sitting in my stash for several months and I have no idea of what to do with it. Perhaps a lacey scarf for this fall? Should I follow a pattern or try to design one myself? I do like the design process but don't have much experience with knitting lace.

I was at a friends housewarming party Saturday night and seeing the paintings she has done made me realize how much I miss painting. I'm thinking of taking it up again and possibly taking a class either at the local community college or at the Learning Exchange.

I wonder if grandma would let me turn the spare room into a studio, both for knitting and painting. Hell, crafts in general. A craft studio. I would love that. I'd definitely have to get some shelves from IKEA.

I want a new bed. I've had my eye on the Noresund at IKEA for a while now and while I was there Friday night I saw that they've marked the price down to $194. It's tempting. I could also use a new mattress.

Its past 1 am. i need to get up for work in 5 hours. Why do the weekends always have to go by so quickly?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Oschuns Bag

Here it is, my latest felted purse, modeled by my sister.
I called it "Oschuns Bag" because Oschun is a caribbean goddess of the sea that my mom is fond of.

I'm working on getting the pattern written up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Because Weekends Were Made For Fun...

I didn't do much of anything productive this weekend...
Friday night after work I went to Erin & Jeremys (E&J's) to help them move in, but by the time I got there they had already finished unloading the truck so we headed over to the pub and had a fun evening with friends.
Saturday, it was so hot out I decided that my spoiled ass dogs needed a wading pool to help them keep cool. In search I went. Evidently, the rest of the universe decided that they needed hard plastic wading pools as well. There were plenty of the inflatable kind, but I wanted to get the plastic kind just to be sure that their nails wouldn't puncture through. Ultimately, I ended up driving all the way to freaking AUBURN to get a damn pool. Its about 25 miles and 30 minutes from my home.
Other than that, I did NOTHING Saturday. Well, I did TRY to knit that blanket. I don't know if its me or the pattern, but I kept losing stitches on the 2nd pattern row so I gave up and went with a crochet pattern I've had plenty of success with in the past. its a simple patter, but with pretty sideways shells and it works up incredibly quickly.
Sunday, I slept in, went to knitting and then went to E&J's to help them finish unpacking and afterwards we had an impromptu dinner party.
I was able to finish the felted bag I was making. Photos will be posted in a day or two once I've found a willing model.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back Home

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and well wishes. I'm doing okay and my family is as well. The services were nice and it was good to see some family I hadn't seen in a few years.
I flew home this morning, took a nice long nap and then met up with some friends at the pub.
Tomorrow my dear sweet beautiful lovely fantabulous cousin Erin is moving back to Sacramento so I'm looking forward to that. Oh, and her husband Jeremy is moving with her. I guess thats okay.
I'm just kidding, I'm very glad that theyre both moving here and Jeremy knows that harassing him is one of my favorite hobbies. He is the closest thing I have to a brother-in-law after all.

Now, knitting projects. I finished the first felted purse I was working on about 2 weeks ago - just with all thats been going on I haven't sewn in the handles yet. So far I really like how it's turned out and I think my mom will as well - did I ever mention that it's for her?
Now I'm working on a crib blanket for a friend who has a niece on the way. I've already had to start the thing 4 times. I'm hoping to not screw it up yet again and be able to finish it within a week or so.

While in Oregon I was able to play with photo shop a little bit. For the little program booklet thing handed out at the viewing and services my grandpa wanted to put a photo on the back of my grandma and a photo of her garden. She loved to garden and could grow some beautiful irises and dahliahs. I found a GREAT photo of her taken at a casino back in the early 60's (she also enjoyed the nickle slots) and a photo of her garden, not in its glory, but still nice. After stumbling through some knock off version of photo shop that my grandpa had on his computer but had no clue of how to use I was able to come up with this:

I know that I'm biased, but I think she looks a bit like Jackie O. in this photo.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

At Peace

Dee Ann Steinbrecher
July 25 1938 - July 8 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm off again....

I'm taking half of tomorrow and Friday off from work to fly up to Portland to see my grandparents again. Things aren't looking very well. I'm scheduled to fly back Sunday afternoon, but thats subject to change.
It's 11:30 and I have yet to do any laundry or pack a single thing.
In fact, the only thing I have packed is a bag of stuff for my dad that he had his girlfriend put together for me to bring with me.
I'll be sitting up with my grandma through the nights that I'm there, so I'll be taking a couple of knitting projects and a book or two.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I'm off to the pub to enjoy some beers and the company of friends for the afternoon.
This evening it will be bbq and fireworks with family.

Friday, June 30, 2006


With everything going on, is it really any suprise that I havent been sleeping much this week?
I've always been a "night owl" with tendencies to stay up until at least midnight regardless of how exhausted I am, but once asleep I always sleep through the night and then have a hard time getting up in the morning. Its as though my body refuses to comply to the standard 8 am to 5 pm workday.
This past week I've been staying up until about 1:30 am each night, then toss and turn for somewhere around half an hour before falling asleep. On top of that, I then wake up around 3:30 am. I've found that if I take a hot bath I can then get a little more sleep before I have to get up at 6:45 am, but overall the lack of sleep this week is wearing on me.
The past two days I've also had a constant headache that does not go away despite popping numerous forms of tylenol, aspirin, and other remedies.

I talked to my dad today. He thinks its pointless for me to try to go visit grandma at this point. After hospice visited yesterday afternoon he and my grandpa went to look at making "arrangements" this morning. At this time, dad said that he thinks I may be best off waiting until mid to late next week at which point I could very likely be flying up for services.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Moms doing well. She came home yesterday and seems to be recovering MUCH better than she did when she had angioplasty 3 years ago.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


It never ends.

My mom had her angiogram this morning. While she was in having the procedure done I sat in the waiting room with her new boyfriend and knitted. I did not grill the new boyfriend, I figured thats her business, not mine. Lets just say that from what I've heard I think he's married and my mom is "the other woman". His story is that he's divorced, but still lives with his "ex" wife. My mom says that the ex wife had some sort of accident that has left her partially disabled and he promised their kids (I don't know how old the kids are) that he'd always take care of her. Yep, sounds like he's still married to me. Anyways...
She gets out of the angiogram and the Dr comes to tell me that theyre going to transport her to another hospital for an angioplasty because she has a 99% blockage in one artery and another artery is narrowing so they may be doing a balloon procedure on that. So, I go home and grab a quick bite while shes transported to the other hospital, then visit her for a while before they do the procedure this evening.
After she goes in for the angioplasty I see that I have a voicemail from dad. His mom is the grandma of mine in Oregon with lung cancer that I've been visiting a lot lately. Evidently, she decided to stop chemotherapy treatments over a month ago but didnt say anything to anyone. I can understand this. That was her decision to make, she's the one who's been going through chemo for damn near two years, she's the one to decide her treatment and course of action. Nobody else. Anyways, since stopping chemotherapy she's been under hospice care and has gone downhill. Theyre thinking she has about 1 good week left where she'll have recognition of people. Maybe two weeks. Overall, the hospice nurses are thinking she has a month total.
I need to get up there to see her, but I'm broke until payday. On top of that, I have my mom to take care of now.
I went back to the hospital after her angioplasty and she made it through the procedure fine, but they ended up having to put in 4 stents to help with her arteries. She'll most likely be discharged some time Wednesday.
How am I dealing with all of this? I'm drinking my way through it. I had 4 beers at the pub and stopped to buy a 6 pack of hard lemonade on my way home.
3 down, 3 to go.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Well, the car problems may not be as bad as I thought.
The other night I had my uncle drive it and he doesnt think its my transmission. He seems to think its either a filter or sensor that needs to be replaced. Or at least thats what we're hoping.
Tonight I'll be taking my car to my service guy and Wednesday he'll run the full diagnostic on it to see if thats the problem or if I'm starting to have issues with the transmission.
Best case scenario - $200 or less for the sensor or filter. If thats the issue, I'll just have it fixed and continue to save up for the new car that will inevitably be needed.
Worst case scenario - $2,000 for a new transmission. If thats the case, I'll just suck it up now and find a new car.
What does everyone think of the Honda Element?

In bigger news, Im taking my mom for her angiogram later this morning.
When she had her heart attack 3 years ago, she had 4 blockages - 2 major and 2 minor.
The 2 major blockages were cleared out with angioplasty. The Dr's determined that the 2 minor blockages wouldn't be able to be removed via angioplasty, but that they would require open heart surgery and that the open heart surgery would present a larger risk than the blockages themselves. My fear is that those 2 minor blockages have grown to present an issue large enough to require open heart surgery. Of course, this is just my fear talking. I'm hoping nothing that invasive will be required.
Also, I'll be getting to meet my moms new boyfriend today. I'll be grilling him while she's in having the angiogram done. My moms not the best judge of character when it comes to men. She's the type who tends to let the potential for romance cloud over everything else and with what I've heard of him, theres already at least one major red flag screaming in her face that she's over looking. I'll see what I can find out.
While grilling him I'll also be working on a new knitting project. Its going to be a felted bag for my mom. I'm not following a pattern this time, sort of designing it myself but it is heavily influenced by some of the felted bags I was working on last winter. I'm keeping track of the "pattern" I'm developing and if it turns out well, I'll write it up and post it here for everyone later.

On top of all of that, my mom found out this morning that my sister and her boyfriend are moving back from Oregon and their bus will be arriving today. Just in time to stress the hell out of my mom as soon as she gets home from the angiogram. perfect.
Just to give some background, my sister is a very high strung individual naturally and on top of that she has some addiction issues. She can be a lot to take sometimes. Hell, she's a lot to take most of the time.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Perfect Timing....

last night I decide that I'm not going to get a new car for now. I figured that I'd be best off to keep this one until it dies on me so that I can have a bit longer to save up a larger down payment so that I won't have to finance as much or pay as much interest.
This morning on the way to work, my transmission goes out on me.
I no longer have a 3rd gear and 2nd gear is questionable.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lifes full of disappointments.

I'm not getting the convertible.
Consumer Reports didnt have very good ratings for it. Especially on customer satisfaction, fuel economy (lower than what the EPA estimates are), and depriciation.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I've looked at a Honda Civic - I know that those are reliable and get excellent gas mileage (I would save $175 a month on the fuel alone) I'm just having second thoughts.
Part of me says I shouldnt get a new car yet, that I should drive my Ford until its dead BUT the thing is 11 years old with almost 170,000 miles. I'm not sure how much longer its going to last.

Other than that, things are going pretty shitty.
Theres too much to go into but one of the worst is that I have to take my mom to have an angiogram next Tuesday. She had a heart attack 3 years ago and it looks like some more blockages have formed so we have to find out where and how badly.
One of the more frivolous is that I was trying to arrange a camping trip with some friends to a cabin my family has at Shasta Lake. Its a beautiful place, very remote - boat access only, no electricity but with running water (heated by propane tanks you carry in), the perfect place to go to relax and have a great time with friends. I talked to my dad this past Sunday to see if I could use the cabin and we agreed upon a weekend where he would be up there during the week before hand and leaving on a Friday so my friends and I could show up Friday to take over the place so the boat would already be there and everything would be set up and ready to go. Last night I call dear old dad to confirm the weekend before I officially invite any friends and he's backing out of it saying that I don't know how to tow a boat and I'd better talk to all of my friends to find out who has what kind of boating experience and report back to him so that he can think it over. I reminded him that he was going to be there the week before hand so there would be no need to tow a boat or launch a boat or get one out of the water. He brushed me off. Its something so frivolous, but at the same time I am genuinely disappointed in him once again failing to follow through on something he's said.
Maybe I'm just being oversensitive about this one issue because theres so much other crap going on right now and this is just the easiest thing to get upset over.
Theres a part of me that just wants to pack up and move far far away somewhere to escape all of the bull shit thats going on.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Pros, and The Cons

thanks to everyone for bringing up the pro's and cons... I've already thought them over... I have taken gas mileage and insurance into consideration with the new vehicle, and heres the breakdown:

*Better gas mileage. I'd save almost $100 per month over what I'm spending on gas in my current behemoth
*The drivetrain is still under factory warranty for another 5 years and 54,000 miles
*maintenance, my current SUV is starting to have lots of little things going wrong with it. The thing is 11 years old and has almost 170,000 miles. I'm thinking its just a matter of time before I start having MAJOR problems with it.
*convertible top would allow me to tan my right arm as well as my left

*Insurance. there is a SLIGHT insurance increase, but its very minimal. Only about $15 dollars a month. I was suprised by this, but I guess because the Sebring is a 4 seater as opposed to a 2 seater, its classified as a sedan rather than a sports car.
*Having a car payment again. I paid my car off in January and it was nice to have it paid off for the past 5 months.

really, those are the only cons I can think of.
I don't NEED an SUV, so losing the space isn't a drawback. Actually, its more of a benefit because anyone who knows me knows that I allow way too much crap to accumulate in the back of my SUV. With the convertible, I wouldn't be able to do that.

I am doing a lot of research on the car, I'm not going to go into something like this blind and make an impulse purchase. I want to be aware of consumer satisfaction, ratings, reviews, all of that.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I Made A H-U-G-E Mistake....

I test drove the convertible Saturday morning.
It is a niiiiiiiiiiiice ride!
Is it possible to love a car?
I think this could be "THE one"! I think we could really have a future together.
I'm leaning more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more towards getting it.
It's still a lot to think over though.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

excuses, excuses....

With my recent string of luck I've begun to think a few different things....

1. Its only a matter of time before I'm in another accident and my car is TOTALED since the KBB is so low on it now.

2. Maybe my car is jinxed or cursed or has a hex upon it, or something along those lines because I had my first accident a month after I got the thing & its been nonstop ever since.

so, last night I decide to browse the website of a local dealership where a family friend is the service manager. He's been a friend of the family for as long as I've been alive (if not a tad longer) so he's hooked us up with some pretty sweet deals over the years.
I'm hoping he can get me a deal on this one:

Its sporty. It says so on the window!

I called to ask him to look in to it and he immediately knew which car I was talking about and started in "that car is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!"
and a perk? it gets much much much better gas mileage than what I have now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

If it wasn't for bad luck....

I'd have no luck at all.

So, while I'm still settling my claim with super crappy insurance company from the woman who rear ended me back in February, guess what happens to me on the way to work this morning?
Yep, rear ended AGAIN.
This time it was barely more than a tap, no visible damage to my car OR that of the woman who hit me. I just can not believe my luck. This makes the 4th time in less than 5 years that I've been rear ended.
Just for clarification, none of these times have I cut any one off or slammed on my brakes. Every single time I have been sitting at a red light or a stop sign.

How much do you think it would cost to take a taxi everywhere?

Monday, June 12, 2006

iPod Shuffle

The way it works:
1. Put your iPod on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question.

How am I feeling today?
Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You by Diana Krall

Will I get far in life?
Spending Money by Jimmy Buffett (thats it. I'm starting that Roth...)

How do my friends see me?
Band On The Run by Paul McCartney

When will I get married?
All I'm Thinkin' About by Bruce Springsteen (ummm.... no?)

What is my best friend's theme song?
The Chicken Sangwich The Heckler and The Kabbash by Dane Cook (hahahahaha! and yes, I do have comedians routines on my ipod))

What is the story of my life?
Biloxi by Jimmy Buffett

What was high school like?
Buenos Aires by Madonna (Crap! I was in Evita my junior year!)

How am I going to get ahead in life?
I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross (I've got to show the world all that I wanna be and all my abilities... this is true))

What is the best thing about me?
When The Heartache Is Over by Tina Turner

How is today going to be?
I Will Buy You A New Life by Everclear

What is in store for this weekend?
I Finally Found Someone by Barbra Streisand with Bryan Adams (seriously???)

What song describes my parents?
Nadine by Art's Missing Finger (a local Sacramento group that is no longer)

What song describes your grandparents?
Another Suitcase In Another Hall by Madonna and Antonio Banderas (not really - this ones about a brief affair and my grandparents had been married for 52 years when he passed)

How is my life going?
The Prayer by josh Groban

What song will they play at my funeral?
Work It (Remix feat 50Cent) by Missy Elliott (hell yes!!!!)

How does the world see me?
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Aretha Franklin (great)

Will I have a happy life?
Fade Away by Chris Isaak

What do my friends really think of me?
As If We Never Said Goodbye by Barbra Streisand

Do people secretly lust after me?
Hard Hearted Hannah by Banu Gibson

How can I make myself happy?
This Joint Is Jumpin by Banu Gibson (I do adore Banu and she is playing in Southern California later this year. Perhaps two of her songs in a row is a sign....)

What should I do with my life?
Waterloo by ABBA (what? I don't get this)

Will I ever have children?
Sleigh Ride by Barenaked Ladies (again... what??)

What is some good advice for me?
Peace Train by 10,000 Maniacs (good advice for anyone!)

What is my signature dancing song?
Coffee Shop by Red Hot Chili Peppers

What do I think my current theme song is?
Some Of These Days by Cab Calloway

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
So It Shall Be by k.d. lang

What type of men/women do you like?
The Joker by the Steve Miller Band

What kind of kisser are you?
Dancing With A Stranger by Cyndi Lauper

What's your style?
You Call It Madness by Diana Krall (HA!!!)

What kind of lover are you?
Ring Of Fire by Joaquin Phoenix (I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing....)

What would be playing on a first date?
Marriage by Margaret Cho (ummmm.... no)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
What A Waste by Jonathan Pryce from Miss Saigon (noooooo!!!!)